What You Should Know About Paper Recycling
Paper recycling has come a long way. While more paper than ever is now being recycled, the importance of data security has affected the recycling process in many workplaces as well.
The recovery rate for used paper has doubled since 1990, and the American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA) is well on its way to achieving its goal of exceeding 70% paper recovery for recycling by 2020.
The amount of paper going to landfills is estimated to have declined by more than half since 2003, and today, more paper products are being recycled than sent to landfills. The website paperrecycles.org reported that the consumption of recovered paper at paper and paperboard mills was almost 31 million tons in 2016.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling 1 short tonne of paper can save 17 mature trees, 7 thousand gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and enough energy to power the average American home for six months.
A professional document destruction company will provide some of this information to its customers. For example, regular customers of Shred-it receive a certificate that shows the number of trees they saved annually (for every two consoles shredded and recycled, one tree is saved).
Document destruction companies are also changing the way confidential information is disposed of in the workplace. Data is not only recycled but it is protected from information thieves along the way as well.
The Process of Secure Recycling in the Workplace
In the workplace, education and training should highlight the importance of data security to all employees. There should be policies and procedures put in place that protect confidential data from creation to destruction and recycling.
Secure Document Collection
A professional document destruction company will provide locked, tamper-proof consoles so that employees can conveniently deposit documents into the consoles. A Shred-it All Policy is recommended because it removes the responsibility from employees regarding decisions about the confidentiality of information. All documents that are no longer needed are earmarked for secure destruction and recycling. There are still recycling bins in the workplace for other recyclables such as cans, plastics, and cartons.
Regular Document Shredding
On a regularly scheduled basis, security-trained personnel will come to the workplace to empty consoles into opaque bags and transport documents for secure on- or off-site shredding. Industrial-grade shredding equipment turns sheets of paper into confetti-like pieces.
Certificate of Destruction
A Certificate of Destruction will be issued after every shred and is proof that documents have been destroyed in accordance with privacy laws and legislation.
Recycling Shredded Paper
Baled shredded paper is transported to a paper mill for recycling. First, pulp is made from paper fibers. The pulp is filtered to remove impurities and ink. The newly recycled pulp is mixed with fresh pulp to manufacture paper products.
Production of Recycled Materials
According to Recycle Across America, more than 37% of the fiber used to make new paper products in the U.S. comes from recycled sources. Besides paper products like copy paper, paper towels and toilet paper, more than 5,000 products can be made from recycled paper including masking tape, bandages, dust masks, hospital gowns, coffee filters, lamp shades, planting pots for seedlings and egg cartons.
Start Protecting Your Business
To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.